5 years ago
In addition to being a scourge on intercontinental commerce and transit, piracy on the Somalian coast has now take the next step. A passenger liner – note, cruise ship – was recently the target of pirates.
An example of legal hand-wringing over law of the sea issues, rules of engagement and general reluctance of address the issue can be found at Opinio Juris. Mr. Anderson at one point states that “No use of force question is ever truly easy.” Of course, this is wrong, and the question is very easy to answer. The Captain’s Journal has already done so (while also noting concurring opinions).
The Captain’s Journal has weighed in saying:
This is easy. We tell the LOAC and ROE lawyers that they’re special and that they should go to their rooms and write high-sounding platitudes about compassion in war so that they’re out of the way, we land the Marines on the ship, and we kill every last pirate. Then we hunt down his domiciles in Somali and destroy them, and then we find his financiers and buyers and kill them. Regardless of the unfortunate potential loss of Ukrainian or Russian civilian life upon assaulting the ship, this weaponry and ordnance should never have been shipped in this part of the world without escort (and perhaps it shouldn’t have been shipped even with escort). Negotiations will only serve to confirm the pirates in their methods. It’s killing time. It’s time to turn the United States Marines loose.
Ralph Peters has weighed in saying:
Piracy must be exterminated. Pirates aren’t folk heroes or champions of the oppressed. They’re terrorists and violent criminals whose ransom demands start at a million bucks. And they’re not impressed by the prospect of trials in a velvet-gloved Western court. The response to piracy must be the same as it was when the British brought an end to the profession’s “golden age:” Sink them or board them, kill them or hang them.
Lt. Col. P at OpFor has weighed in saying:
Kill all of the pirates.
Seriously. Why do we allow a handful of khat-addled assholes to dominate one of the world’s most important sea lanes? We, the western powers, have sufficient naval units in the area to take care of the problem in very quick order. What we lack is the will. We apply an idiotically high standard of judicial due process to a situation that doesn’t lend itself well to a judicial solution. Anyone who has dealt with Somalis can tell you that they laugh at western legalisms, and what they perceive as western weaknesses. And then they redouble their violent efforts to take what they want from you. They do react very well to a boot on their necks, and a gun to their heads. Then they tend to wise up quickly.
Here’s how it needs to be done. Oil tanker sends distress call, takes evasive actions insofar as it is capable. (Or better yet, armed men aboard oil tanker defend by fire.) Coalition forces despatch (sic) vessels and boarding parties. Pirates who survive ensuing gun battle are lined up by the rail and shot in the head, then dumped overboard. Pirate boats are burned. If their bases or villages on the coast can be identified, said bases are raided and destroyed. No fuss no muss, no ransom, no hostages, no skyrocketing costs.
The inability to deal with pirates properly is a 21st century phenomenon, entirely a function of legal problems, rules of engagement, rules for the use of force, and the impossible desire to be infallible and utterly perfect and pristine in the application of force.
At any rate, this is what we have previously stated to be the manifest solution to the problem. But now, readers get a chance to weigh in by answering the easy poll below. Remember – your heart may be telling you to vote the last bullet, while your head is telling you to vote something else. But we expect the proper donation and we’ll know if you haven’t dropped coins into the coffers.
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